Re-invent Yourself


Last week I attended ‘Jump Start Your Business’, an ASMP program presented by photographer Judy Herman. She presented information designed to motivate, inspire and promote creative thinking about your photography business. During her talk she discussed her 20 year career and the number of times she has had to reinvent herself to stay creatively fresh and in business. She cited at least four reinventions of her business.

This got me thinking about my own business and retrospectively about my own reinventions. At the start of my tenth year in the photography business, I see at least three reinventions of my business.

When I started as a photographer I was a full-time newspaper photojournalist. This opportunity allowed me to grow as a person and to develop my style as a photographer. I soon discovered that I wanted to expand in my role as a photojournalist. I had aspirations to work at a major market newspaper. I quit my job, moved back to Pittsburgh, started graduate school and started working in my business as a freelance photojournalist in earnest with the goal of eventually finding a staff position.

This was Reinvention One.

All of the opportunities and networking I endeavored in graduate school lead to other new and exciting challenges including commercial photography, architectural photography and photo education. Grad school fostered networking with public relations professionals, other newspaper photographers and editors outside of my current circle. It also provided my entree into photography in higher education where I had the opportunity to teach photojournalism and photography. With this development, I left freelance photojournalism to pursue public relations photography and work on personal photographic projects.

This was Reinvention Two.

Currently, I research, learn and teach new photographic technologies, like the GigaPan, understanding how they can be used to report and communicate. I’ve leveraged a personal project into a book, Our State Parks, an exhibition and speaking engagements.

Reinvention Three is underway.

The lesson I learned from Judy Herman’s presentation is to continually look for new ways to be creative, recognize and execute new opportunities and possibilities that differentiate you from the crowd….and ‘Don’t Stop Believing’.

How are you re-inventing yourself?